Sunday, May 4, 2014

Not Grown Under My Heart, But In It

A long time ago, my son decided I was his Mommy. It was before his Daddy and I were even engaged or married. Our souls just matched up. Little souls imprint on their parents no matter from whose womb they emerge. Some people think my son looks like me. But that doesn't really matter. He is gorgeous. He looks like his father and his aunt. He looks like all parts of his biology. He looks like himself. He looks like my heart.

I can't really go into detail about the last 14 months of trying to adopt him. I can, I guess, but it doesn't feel fair to him. He is completely unaware of any of it. He doesn't know his adoption was finalized Friday. His life is business as usual. In fact, when we came home from the courthouse, overflowing with joy, he wanted to know why he hadn't been allowed to play his Batman game yet. All he knew about that day was that a lot of people who adore him were there at the same time and he got to drink chocolate milk and two Dr. Peppers all in the same day. (We paid for that later.) I'll just say this: It has been a long, trying 14 months. We have relied on our friends and families a great deal. We have completely lost it more than once. Yes, the adoption process has been long and painful. But, I'm told, so is childbirth.

Part of the adoption process was a home study. Part of that home study was a list of questions, one of which was "What are your hopes and dreams for the child you are trying to adopt?" Rather than answer the question directly, I chose to write a letter to my son. I've been asked by a couple of people to share it, so it follows here. I think, like any other mother, I am incapable of explaining my feelings for my child or my feelings about becoming a mom. Maybe some day I will be a better writer and I will be able, but probably not. I'm too close to see it clearly. This letter is probably the best I can do.


Dear A---,

I hope for you happiness. The kind of happiness that is in your bones because you are living the life you should be living, that doesn't go away even on sad days – at least not at your core. The kind of happiness that sits underneath everything else to remind you of all you have for which you can be thankful. The kind of happiness that lets you smile through pain and hold your chin up at the end of a long day, because it is real and lasting and not only about whatever great thing you just acquired or accomplished.

I hope for you the kind of heartbreak that teaches you, but not the kind that cripples you. Because there will be heartbreak. I hope for you the heartbreak that gives you the wherewithal to recognize real love, authentic friendship, and profound opportunity when you it comes your way. I hope we have taught you a work ethic to make the effort to nurture those things when you have them and a way to show all the love that is in your great big heart to them and the tenacity to fight for them when they flounder or slip away or don't come so easily.

I hope for you a partner who is for you what your father is to me. Someone to spend your life with. Someone who doesn't mind if you are high maintenance because they like maintaining you. Someone who thinks they hit the jackpot with you. Someone who makes you feel like the luckiest man on earth. I hope that when you find that partner you are at a place in your life where you are ready to embrace them. If not, I hope they are patient enough to know you are worth waiting for.

I hope for you a passion. At least one. Something for which you are willing to work your fingers to the bone. Something worth staying up all night over. Something to sustain you and your mind in the alone hours. If you can turn that passion into a job, then wonderful. If not, then I hope for you a job that allows you the time and money to pursue that passion outside of work.

I hope for you a connection to God and the Universe in which you live. I hope you find a way to be at peace with the force of things bigger than yourself and a way to connect with God. This doesn't need to be on my terms. Whatever terms you find between yourself and God, I hope they make your soul grow and give you even further appreciation for your life.

I hope for you a long childhood. Maybe a little too long. There will be plenty of time for chasing girls and worrying about bills and spending too much time on the internet and 12 hour workdays and all the troubles that seem to accumulate through years. May you have a few extra summers of catching fireflies and few extra springs where your biggest worry is which toy to take outside with you to play.

I wish for you success – but a little failure too. Because I don't want you to be one of those people for whom things come too easily. They fail to recognize what beauty and profundity can bloom only from hard work and little mud.

My biggest dream for you is this: Big dreams. I hope the life you make exceeds all I can imagine for you. I am quite sure that within you dwells more possibility than I have ever known. I hope you make the most of it.

But along the way, please be kind. For we are all in this together. But do not be afraid to stand up for yourself either, because you are, as the bible says, worth more than all the feathers on all the sparrows. And if we have done our jobs, then you will be kind and strong and whole and you will know that whoever you grow up to be and whatever you grow up to do, you have two parents who love you unconditionally, a home where you are always welcome, and a deep deep well of belief in you that will never run dry.



  1. Beautiful. And perfectly said. A mothers wishes for their child.

    1. Thank you, Shawna! And thanks again for your sweet words on my fb page. :)

  2. Beautiful. And perfectly said. A mothers wishes for their child.

  3. Perfection. Sheer perfection.

  4. That seems like an absolutely perfect letter to me.